Armed with promo blitz, Zee's talent hunt to warm up weekend viewing

MUMBAI: The roll out has begun. Next on Zee's agenda is bolstering its weekend viewing and what better programme than the one billion project- India's best - Cinestar Ki Khoj. Starting 25 June, the Subhash Chandra promoted channel will be airing the Cities Best edition of the talent hunt, every Friday-Saturday at 9 pm.

To encourage interactivity, the channel will be running a series of multimedia contests simultaneously on SMS, Internet, and IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System) in addition to the ground events.


While the channel is still in process of finalising the move, it is likely that in the next round of selections the channel will be involving the "junta" as well.

The 20-episode series, covering each of the 20 Indian cities and Hong Kong and Singapore, where auditions were held too, will go on for 10 weeks. The channel has already begun airing a special series of promotions from 11 June. In addition to the "tears of joy, angst and ecstasy" promos, the channel will also be putting up hoardings in all the 20 cities where the event was held.

"Although the target audience for reality shows would be the youth, but glamour, especially Bollywood- related, is one such subject that fascinates the young and old alike. Also, the housewives would be interested in knowing who will be the next Shah Rukh Khan," gushes Zee Network vice-president marketing Ajay Trigunayat about the show.

The India's Best-Cinestar Ki Khoj talent hunt will be replacing the Farooque Sheikh- anchored personality show Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai. The Friday line up at Zee will now boast of Sansui Antakshari at 8:30 pm, followed by an hour-long Cinestar Ki Khoj and concluding with Hero Honda Sa Re Ga Ma Pa.

Although the channel isn't vocalising it, the fight is on with the number two channel Sony. It seems like Zee has adopted a strategy where it would counter Sony's thrillers with talent hunts.

At present, after the stormy 20 cities auditions, the channel has zeroed in on the 80 finalists, who are being groomed for the next set of auditions. While celebrity photographers like Daboo Ratnani and Gautam Rajadhyaksha are getting their portfolios shot, the finalists are being given a crash course in acting by Kishore Namit Kapoor.

"All the 80 contestants that we have zeroed down on are "star" material. Selecting 32 out of them is going to be a major task. `Cr?me of India' as we call them is the group that is in the true sense of term, India's best," says a Zee spokesperson.

All the contestants, flown down and lodged at an undisclosed location in Mumbai, are being groomed in batches. The channel claims that some "excellent" television programming has been shot till now.

Speaking about the ground event Trigunayat offers, "During the auditions conducted in various cities, we also had a few on ground activities. It was then that we realised that the event has helped us build an excellent brand recall. So, taking a leaf from that learning, we have a special series of on-ground contests in addition to the multimedia campaign that we will be flagging off soon."

He further added: "We will be positioning our brand near colleges,

universities, youth hang-outs and running a contest. As prizes, we will be giving away India's best merchandise like T-shirts, key chains and pens."

That apart, the channel will soon be distributing Salman Khan masks across the country with the programme timing printed on the other side playing up the weekend branding for Cinestar Ki Khoj.

"After the cities best we will be airing the semifinal and the grooming

session for another 10 weeks. Since the roll out of the programming will continue till December, we will be chalking out the innovative marketing and promotions plans as we go ahead," Trigunayat informs.

Armed with an exhaustive list of promotional activities, the channel is aiming at creating a loyal set of audiences. But will the viewers anoint 'Cinestar Ki Khoj' as India's best? Guess it is wait and watch for now.

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